UW Madison Safety Department Chemical and Radiation Protection

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					    June 2002                                                          Volume 2 Issue 2

  UW - Madison Safety Department Chemical and Radiation Protection
  30 N. Murray St.                262-8769               http://www.fpm.wisc.edu/safety

  Help Line 265-5518                                    NRC License: 48-09843-18

Accidents Happen
You've heard that statement time and time           forgotten that in winter you leave more space
again. But, you know that it is really a cop-       between cars and drive slower.
out. Accidents do not "need" to happen. They             Dr. Bill Sonzogni, Chair of the Univer-
happen because of either a lack of knowledge        sity's Chemical Safety Committee sent me a
or a lack of understanding (or both). People        copy of a web page he had read called
may not be aware of the hazardous nature of         "Accidents Will Happen" (Posted December
the work they are doing or they may be aware        7, 2001 · Issue 116) by David Bradley. Let’s
of the hazard but believe they can do the task      look at some of the safety issues that were
"accident-free."                                    discussed.
      One task of the Safety Department is to            Sensitivity. I bought a Rolex watch in
try to provide that basic knowledge which           Japan in 1985. Really a nice watch and I wear
                                     workers can    it all the time. About March, 2000, I got an
  The most experienced               build upon     itch on my wrist. The itch persisted for
  scientists can have                to create a    several months and I figured it had to be due
                                     safer work     to the watch’s clasp. The problem was that I
                                     place. We      had developed a sensitivity to nickel, a
                                     do that by     material used in stainless steel. I solved my
                                     conducting     problem by placing some adhesive tape under
safety audits of labs, collecting hazardous         the clasp.
waste, providing training, etc. But under-               But sensitivities to materials you use
standing is also crucial.                           everyday can occur. David Bradley talks
      An example of "understanding" that            about an acquaintance who “suffered a bout ”
people in Wisconsin can relate to: The first        of what he thought was hay fever - snuffling
winter storm in Madison always has a lot of         and runny nose, itchy and sore eyes, the usual
small traffic accidents. Usually these are          thing . He took a few days of sick leave ... and
attributed to the fact that the roads are icy and   the symptoms subsided until he went back to
people are driving too fast for conditions.That     work and took up his (Continued on Page 2)
is, they are driving like the road is dry, having
           CARP Spectrum                                             June 2002

(Continued) experiment of enzymatic                 the product, the 100 ml reaction flask
chemical synthesis where he had left off. The       exploded violently, injuring one of the team in
devastating result was far worse than the           the arm. Nagata suspects that the problem lay
snuffles he had suffered before his sick leave:     in the formation of a peroxide by-product,
his neck and face went bright scarlet, and he       which would have been less concentrated on a
started shaking and collapsed, gasping for air.     larger scale. Nagata wrote to Chemical &
Anaphylactic shock was the diagnosis. He had        Engineering News, saying, "I do not intend to
to leave his job. Although the lab in question      blame the authors for not describing the
has implemented very strict protein-powder          danger, but all chemists should be aware that
handling                                            this procedure could be dangerous.”
control                                                 Preparedness. Remember, each of you is
                      “Hay Fever”
systems, it's                                       responsible for safety. Know all of the safety
the kind of           became                        devices in your lab, know the hazards of the
accident that is      anaphylactic shock            chemicals you are working with, be prepared
almost                                              in the event of an accident.
impossible to predict and in the future may             “In 1995, a seemingly small-scale spill of
become more common.”                                hydrofluoric acid killed a technician in
    Your personnel should be aware of the fact      Australia. He died from multiorgan failure
that they may become sensitized to material         two weeks after the incident. Several factors
they routinely use. Protective gloves is only       contributed to his unfortunate death, according
one common sensitizer problem. If you feel          to the official report. He was alone, wearing
something is different, discuss it with others.     only rubber gloves and sleeve protectors but
Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of        nothing covering his lap. He was working in a
sensitization.                                      crowded fume hood. The lab had no
    Scaling. The old joke about the cook who        emergency shower nor any calcium gluconate
had to make a cake to feed 50 people is             gel antidote available. The lessons may be
relevant. The cook looked at the recipe for a       obvious, but accidents happen to even the
cake that could feed 10 people and simply           most experienced of scientists.”
multiplied all values by 5. When asked when             Do you think 15 minutes is too long to
it would be ready, was heard to remark, “Just       stay under a deluge shower? Our Chemical
put it in the oven, it will be ready in 150         Safety and Disposal Guide recommends
minutes.”                                                           washing for 15 minutes for
    A small-scale lab accident         Some lab dangers are         small spills on the skin except
may involve someone mixing             reported by word-of-         for hydrofluoric acid in which
something and getting an               mouth                        case you “wash and flush for
unexpected exothermic or                                            only 5 minutes and promptly
explosive reaction. The results often reach the     apply calcium gluconate gel and immediate
community by word of mouth or through a             medical attention.”
note in the literature. For instance, Toshi             “The slow death that befell Dartmouth
Nagata of the Institute for Molecular Science,      chemist Karen Wetterhahn when she was
Okazaki, Japan, recently reported an accident       exposed to a few drops of the highly toxic
while following a literature procedure              dimethylmercury in August 1996 took several
published 10 years ago. The chemical                months to kill her. Although Wetterhahn was
preparation involved synthesizing a                 wearing latex gloves, this compound rapidly
brominated bipyridine, but instead of using         penetrated them and was absorbed through her
standard quantities, Nagata's team had scaled       skin. Ironically, she was, at the time, using
it down to a 10th. While they were purifying        dimethylmercury to examine the effects of
            June 2002                                              CARP Spectrum

  toxic metals, such as chromium, on human            Chemical Hygiene Officer and the lab's safety
  cells. In October of this year (2001), Michal       committee. They are advisers and
  Wilgocki of the University of Wroclaw in            recommenders. Third is everyone. Everyone
  Poland, a chemistry professor with thirty years     needs to be responsible for health and safety.
  experience, died after an explosion in his          Follow the rules, report accidents, injuries,
  laboratory. Firefighters have suggested the         and unsafe conditions."
  accident may have happened while Wilgocki                 The Safety Department is here to help
  was drying unstable perchlorates.”                  you do your work. We offer a weekly training
       Responsibility. One of those things that       class which takes about 90 minutes and
  is always asked after an accident occurs is,        discusses types of hazards, protective
  “who’s responsible?”. According to Jim              measures, disposal, and emergencies. We
  Kaufman of the Laboratory                                           revised our “Chemical Safety
  Safety Institute (LSI), "There are     Everyone is                  and Disposal Guide” to make it
  three levels of responsibility.        responsible for              more readable. We have a help
  First is management. Safety is         safety                       line (5-5518) for those
  their responsibility. Preventing                                    chemical questions which no
  accidents and injuries is their responsibility.     one seems to have the answer for; try to stump
  If you manage others, you are responsible for       our chemist (he likes to learn new things and
  their health and safety. You have to enforce        is not afraid to say, “I never thought of that.”).
  the rules," he explains. "Second is the

Radionuclide Inventories
CORD maintains the UW radioisotope inventory by PI and isotope. Each lab is responsible for having
their own inventory of receipt, use, and disposal. CORD assists the lab's inventory process by giving a
Radionuclide Inventory sheet with every stock vial. In fact the inventory sheet is the lab’s CORD
invoice. The receipt and use portion of the inventory is obvious. Receipt is listed as the activity in the
vial received. Then, every time an aliquot is removed from the vial by a lab member, they should
subtract that amount from the activity in the vial and calculate the remaining activity.
    But, what about disposal? We recommend that labs not hold radioactive materials for decay. There
is no benefit. The person who withdraws an aliquot should dispose of that entire activity to the lab’s
waste streams. The question is, how to document the Radionuclide Inventory sheet and the lab’s waste
disposal records?
    One easy solution is to keep a log for each large container of radioactive waste. Thus, a lab might
have a sheet for each of their 32P, 33P, 35S boxes. Every time a person puts radioactive waste in the box,
they write on the inventory sheet for that box: date, activity (millicuries or microcuries), CORD RSR #
(this is CORD’s tracking number) for that radioactive material, and their initials. They would also
complete their Radionuclide Inventory sheet with the same information. When the waste is ready to be
disposed, the bag is taped, the box is taped shut, the waste box inventory sheet summed, the Radioactive
Waste Disposal form filled out for that activity. The waste log sheets could be filed with the CORD
inventories and Radioactive Waste Disposal forms.
    When you receive an order, the inventory sheet provides a summary of how much radioactive
material you have on hand and on order (but not yet received). If there is a discrepancy, it is most likely
for material ordered, but not received. It is important to insure that the amount being disposed is equal
to the amount being used. If you remove a 0.1 mCi aliquot for your project, dispose (by liquid or solid)
0.1 mCi. For material with half-lives less than 120 days, exact quantities in both the liquid and solid
waste streams is not as important as recording the total activity because the Safety Department holds all
these wastes for 10 half-lives before disposal.

                CARP Spectrum                                             June 2002

Annex Moving?
The Safety Department has a small annex at             The training schedule from 1 June through 30
which you can pick up training materials,              October (all classes are held at Union South)
tags, waste disposal forms, etc., that is open         June 3, 10, 17, 27, July 3, 9, 15, 26, August
from 11 AM - 2 PM. The annex is currently              1, 7, 13, 23, and September 4, 9, 16, 23.
located in Room 19, Biochemistry, however,             Additionally, the schedule is flipped twice
we have been told we will be moving to                 each semester and the Radiation class is held
another location about 1 June. We will                 at 8 AM with the Chemical class held at 1:30.
include the new address on our Web site                The dates when the Radiation class is in the
(http://www.fpm.wisc.edu/safety) and will              morning (and Chemical class in the
try to get the word out via e-mail. Check the          afternoon) are: June 14, 21, August 29 and
web site before coming.                                September 6, 13. No sign-up is needed, just
                                                       show up. A quiz is used to document
Training Schedule June - October                       training. Booklets for either class can be
Chemical and Radiation Protection offers               picked up at our annex which is room 19,
training classes. The Chemical Safety                  Biochemistry. As always, our web site has a
training class begins at 9:30 on the same day          complete listing.
as the Radiation Safety training class which
begins at 12:30.

      UW-Safety Dept.
      30 N. Murray St. 53715-1227

      (608) 262-8769

      Help Line: (608) 265-5518